Six Generations of Trivia
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William Durant, the founder of GM, said a wallpaper pattern he saw in a Paris hotel in 1908 inspired the Chevrolet bow tie emblem. Supposedly, he ripped off a small piece of it and brought it back to Detroit.
The man who named the Corvette was Myron Scott. At the time, he was Chevrolet's chief photographer. The Corvette is named after an agile and nimble British naval warship.
The Jaguar XK120 from the early 1950's was the inspiration for the first Corvette. General Motors wanted the Corvette to be North America's first genuine sports car.
On January 17th in 1953, the Chevrolet Corvette concept car was first unveiled at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York City. This was one of the stops for the Motorama car show traveling across America. GM wanted to receive public feedback and enthusiasm prior to building it. The pubic was very excited.
The original Corvette was the only General Motors car ever made with a "Wrap-Around" windshield.
Most people do not know why Corvette body panels are made of fiberglass and not traditional steel. Due to lack of time needed to create tooling for steel panels, it was faster to use plastic panels reinforced with glass. The unusual use of fiberglass was also cheaper than new tooling for steel. The decision saved time prior to rushed production. The combination of weight savings and strength was a bonus The Corvette was not the first car to be made with a fiberglass body, but it was the first to be built by a company the size of Chevrolet.
Corvettes have been assembled in three different locations: Flint, Michigan then St. Louis, Missouri, then Bowling Green Kentucky.
C1 years: 1953 to 1962
The designer of the 1953 concept Corvette was Bob McLean. He worked under the direction of GM styling chief, Harley Earl. In early 1952, they shared a vision of a low sitting sports car that was built wide for nimble handling. Their vision would be reality less than a year later.
The original front emblem and horn button on the Motorama Corvette featured crossed American and checkered flags. GM discovered that using an American flag on a product trade mark was against the law and the emblem was changed to the Fleur-de-lis instead. The Fleur-de-lis was used as a tribute to Louis Chevrolet, who was a Frenchman and one of the founders of the Chevrolet motor company. Every Corvette emblem since has been crossed racing flags.
The first Corvette was powered by a 235 cubic inch straight (in-line) 6 cylinder. It was called the Blue Flame six. This engine created 106 hp, before it was "hot-rodded". The output increased to 150hp by adding (3) side-draft carburetors, dual exhaust, increased compression and modified camshaft profiles. The transmission was a two speed Powerglide automatic gearbox.
The hash mark on the front fender molding of the Motorama 1953 Corvette faced down and on the production car, it faced up.
On Tuesday, June 30, 1953 Corvette #1 Serial Number E53F001001 rolled of the assembly line, and Corvette production began in Flint Michigan. It was pushed and not driven because it didn't start. The electrical ignition system was not grounded properly due to the fiberglass body.
Want the rarest Corvettes? In 1953 the first two Corvettes, VIN Numbers 1 and 2 were said to have been destroyed, but no records prove that fact, and there are no witnesses to the destruction.
The first five Corvettes to come off the assembly line did not have an outside rear view mirror.
The only thing really new on the 1953 Corvette was the fiberglass body. Everything else was directly off the Chevrolet parts shelf. Because of the rush, the first Corvette was essentially a regular 1952 Chevrolet that looked like a million dollars!
Only 314 Corvettes hand built in 1953. Of these, 183 were sold because of "average" performance at such a high price, $3513 the Jaguar Xk120 sold for $3345, $168 less than the Corvette. The rest were given to celebrities in order expose the new car.
All official 300 Corvettes from 1953 were painted Polo white and had Sportsman red leather.
In 1954, 3265 Corvettes were produced, but 1076 were unsold by dealers, due to very low demand. The same year, Ford showed their first Thunderbird at the Detroit car show. Due to pending competition, the Corvette project continued. Before year's end, Corvette production moved from Flint Michigan to St. Louis Missouri. The Corvette would be assembled there until 1981.
In 1955, Chevrolet introduced the optional 265 cubic inch V8 engine. It was designed and created by Zora Arkus-Duntov. All but 10 of 4700 cars that year came with the new engine. It produced 195hp, breathing through a four barrel carburetor. The power was a respected result for the time.
There are 13 vertical bars or "teeth" in the grill of 1956 & 1957 Corvettes.
Few people are aware that discussions between Carol Shelby and Corvette executives took place during 1956 and 1957. Shelby was denied being involved with GM building any light weight sports car, with big engines. He achieved his success in 1962 when his put together is first Cobras, using AC Bristol bodies and Ford V8 engines. Racing history was created from that point forward. Carol Shelby became a one-man legend.
In February of 1956, Zora Arkus-Duntov and the Corvette team started racing 1956 models on Daytona Beach and they reached the desired top speed of 150 mph. This achievement lead to engine development for Corvette to enter the 12 hours of Sebring race in 1957.
The Corvette team planned to enter 3 cars in the 24 hour endurance race at Lemans for June of 1957. This never happened thanks to a racing ban by the Automobile Manufacturer's Association that same month. After one year, the Corvette was out of official racing.
The color Polo white (shade of all 1953 models) was last used in 1957.
In 1957 a limited slip differential was offered as an option for the first time.
The four speed manual transmission was first available in 1957.
The last year of the tachometer with the "cumulative engine revolution counter" was 1958. It first appeared in the 1953 Corvette. In 1958 the tach was used on 230, 245, and 250 hp cars and NOT on the 270 and 290 hp cars. The part number is #1548631 for 1958.
Optional engines in 1956 had nine fin alloy valve covers, 1957 had seven or nine fin alloy valve covers, and the 1958 had seven fin alloy covers on optional engines.
In 1958, the chrome grill was changed from 13 teeth to only 9, and sun visors were made an option.
Nylon belted tires first became available on the 1960 Corvette, prior to 1960 only cotton was offered.
The 1961 Corvette was the last year to feature "Wide Whitewall" tires.
The 1961 Corvette was the first to not have the "round" nose emblem, and the big grill teeth disappeared forever, replaced by a fine mesh.
In 1962, there was no longer the option for white side coves; they were matching to the paint color.
The solid rear axle Corvettes were made for the last time in 1962 so were the power tops on the roadsters.
The styling of all midyear Corvette bodies and the name "Stingray" were influenced by Manta Ray fish that engineer Bill Mitchell saw while fishing down south. The design was called radical and unique.
The earliest serial number air conditioned Sting Ray has a production build date in October, about 6 months before the rest of the A/C cars. The reason? The owner was a GM executive and the car returned to Chevrolet for refitting with A/C.
An error was made in creating the roof panel mold in 1963, using the wrong side of the dimensions, such that all roof panels were too small. This left a gap seen in the door pillar above the door latch in all but a few 1963's to 1967. The ones where it is not found were cosmetically covered up with body filler.
In 1963, independent rear suspension and pop up headlights became standard. Power steering was an option for the first time. Corvettes of this year featured fake hood vents.
Chief Corvette engineer Bill Mitchell and designer Zora Arkus-Duntov argued over the "split" rear window for the new Corvette. It gave the Stingray a spine down the back. Bill Mitchell won out for the 1963 Model, but it was removed for 1964 never to be seen again. The rear vision was compromised.
The 1963, the Grand Sports race cars looked much like the production coupes, had no body parts in common. The fiberglass body panels were roughly half the thickness of production panels to save weight. They also had all aluminum engines that were larger and more powerful.
Only (5) original 1963 Grand Sport racing Corvettes were ever produced by Chevrolet. Today, they are worth up to $500,000 each today. They were created by corporate executives to compete against Carol Shelby's Cobras. Their production was so limited since General Motors had a corporate ban on factory racing.
Only race in which the Grand Sport Corvettes beat the Shelby Cobras was in December 1963 at Nassau in the Bahamas. It was the last race of season.
In 1963, the Z06 Performance package was first available. Only 199 Corvettes were produced that year with that option. They featured stronger, upgraded chassis parts, larger 36 gallon fuel tanks, better cooled brakes, deleted radios and climate controls. The larger gas tank was an available option until 1967. This package was available for the intention of track racing.
Only the driver's side vent on the 1964 Corvette is functional. The fake hood vents were now gone.
While the 427 V8 was developed originally, the 396 V8 went into the Corvette and Chevelle in 1965 due to a GM policy restricting them to less than 400 cubic inches.
In 1965, Chevrolet introduced the first big block engine in a Corvette. It was the only year for the 396 V8 with 425hp. Chevrolet put the label "Turbojet" on engine air cleaners with a horsepower rating of greater than 390hp.
In 1965, two separate hoods were available - the smooth small block hood and the bulging big block hood.
The 1966 Corvette was not eligible in SCCA Trans Am, due to the upper limit of 5.0 liter on engine displacement. The Corvette had a 5.3L, 327ci engine. Chevy's only eligible car was the Corvair.
The first year for three hoods available was 1966: the small block hood, the big block hood, and the L-88 hood, even though externally the L-88 looked like the regular big block hood.
In late February and early March, 1967, some small blocks received the big block hood due to an industrial accident with the small block hood mold. These were not given the hood stripe.
The "GM Mark of Excellence" sticker appeared in only one year, 1967.
Federal law mandated the removal of spinners from wheels in 1967, so the knock off wheel of 1963-66 was replaced with a bolt on wheel.
1967 was the first year "vinyl" was offered as an optional exterior covering for the hardtop.
The 1967 model was the first to have the "tank sticker", or the build sheet, attached to the gas tank.
An option was offered in 1967 that lasted for only three production years, a speed warning indicator.
The famous L88 engine that was an option had an official rating of 430hp, but Chevrolet insiders knew that it was actually capable of 560 gross horse power.
The 1967 Le Mans Racer was driven to the track in France from the airport (in place of being trailered) was because the trailer was full of parts! One of these was driven but Roger Penske. It was powered by the L88 engine.
Pontiac almost beat Chevrolet to the Coke bottle design body (1968 Mako Shark), with their 1965 Banshee, a two seater convertible sports car that would have been hefty competition for the Corvette. GM stopped it, and then Pontiac president John DeLorean later became president of Chevrolet.
T-top does not refer to the shape of the roof, but rather it is short for Targa Top. The original design was a pure Targa but body flex demanded the center bar, discovered late in the design.
Due to policy changes in Chevrolet, Corvette was treated like all other car lines for the first time, and quality dropped drastically. With bad publicity in most magazines, policy was re-thought and Chevrolet quickly restored independence and quality to Corvette within a few months, but all 1968s carry the stigma of being "the worse quality" of all Corvettes.
Starting in 1968, all C3 big block manifolds were redesigned to actually sink into the lifter valley as the hood clearance was less than in '67 and back. As such, a 1965 to a 1967 big block intake manifold won't fit in a 1968 or newer Corvette with a stock hood and air cleaner.
The exception to the above was the L-88. It retained the high rise manifold and also received a special hood, which was externally different this time.
Emission control equipment was installed on the first 1968's in the fall of 1967 even though the federal law required it only as of January 1, 1968.
1968 was the first year AM/FM stereo was offered as an option.
The vertical rear window in the 1968-1972 Corvettes was removable for more of a true convertible experience
The Sting Ray name was absent from the front fenders on the all new 3rd generation 1968 Corvette, but returned in 1969 spelled as one word "Stingray".
In 1969, the size of the base engine grew from 327 cubic inches to 350(5.7L), a displacement that would remain until 2005!
Corvette had its first all aluminum engine in 1969 as the ZL-1. It was not the first GM automobile to do so, beaten by the Corvair in 1960 and the Buick 215 V8. What made the ZL-1 special is its pure race car power, only (2) were every delivered to dealers. They are the most collectible engines to date.
In 1969, the ignition lock was moved from the dash to the steering column. It would remain there until the C5 appeared in 1997, when it was returned to the dash.
In November of 1969, the 250,000th Corvette rolled off the assembly line.
In 1970, the LT1 solid-lifter V8 was introduced. It was rated at 370hp and it developed a reputation of being a high revving, strong performing small block. A ZR1 option was made available the same year, and was a race-ready package of chassis, engine and transmission upgrades. The ZR1 required high octane fuel and was known for high fuel consumption. Only (25) cars were made. The LT1 power level changed from 370ghp to 275 net hp.
The high performance LS7 big block option costing $3000 was never installed in the 1970 Corvette.
No Corvettes were painted black at the factory from 1970 to 1976.
In 1971, General Motors and Chevrolet changed the method of advertising power outputs. Gross hp was changed to net hp, and stated power levels reflected reductions from exhaust, accessories and low octane fuel.
The only outside difference between the 1971 and a 1972 Corvette is the appearance of the amber front turn signals and vertical chroming on the egg-crate grills both on the 1972 - that's it. Minor stuff most people miss.
After 1972, the LT1 engine code would reappear 20 years later in 1992. When it did, the net rating of 300hp exceeded the performance output of the original LT1, both on and off the dynamometer.
The 1972 model was the last year for the classic front and rear chrome bumpers. These were a strong styling cue from the 1960’s. In 1973, federal regulations required urethane front bumpers used to survive 5mph front impacts. The two styles of bumpers make the '73 model easy to spot.
For 1973, radial tires replaced the older bias-ply wide ovals. This changed allowed all Corvettes to have improved handling in wet weather and in high speed driving.
In 1973, a new concave dish style aluminum alloy wheel became available as an option. They featured 8 rectangular cooling vents. These rims had the same problem that plagued the 1963 aluminum wheels, the inability to hold air. Only a handful of these wheels ended up on 1973 and 1974 model year cars. They wouldn't be seen until 1976, and more common in 1978.
In 1974, a newly designed 2 piece urethane rear bumper replaced the traditional chrome piece. Now the front and rear matched in appearance. Gone was the raised lip from the tail end of the '73 Corvette.
The last unrestricted dual exhaust was installed in 1974, after that, everything went through a catalytic converter, as per federal laws requiring cleaner exhaust.
The 1974 model has a rear bumper of 2 pieces; 1975-1982 used a one piece unit.
The awesome 454ci engine was only offered for 5 years... 1970, 71, 72, 73, and 1974.
The 1974 model was the last year the Corvette would be produced to run on "leaded" gasoline.
The 1975 model was the first year for HEI distributor.
After 1975, the convertible model was being discontinued. It was the lowest production year for convertibles for those years that offered both convertibles and coupes.
The 1976 Corvette used the same steering wheel as a Chevrolet Vega for the "Sport Wheel" Option.
In March in 1977, the 500,000th Corvette rolls off the assembly line and crossed flags returned to the nose and sides of the car.
The 1977 model saw the redesign of the center console to accept standard Delco radios, the first year that Corvette didn't have a Corvette only radio.
In 1978, the short vertical rear glass from 1968 was replaced by a large curved window that remains today. All 1978 corvettes were called 25th anniversary cars.
The 1978 Indy Pace Car had a black and silver paint scheme because it photographed well. Back then, most magazine articles and photographs were published in black and white.
The body in 1978 was widened in the rear fender area. This was discovered by customizers when converting '78 and newer coupes to convertibles after the convertible production ended in 1975.
The Corvette's highest production year was 1979, since the car began. Nearly 54,000 cars were produced.
By federal mandate, the 1980 Corvette was the first Corvette to have a very low 85 mph speedometer readout, no matter what speed the car could achieve.
The C3s' final exterior facelift was complete with the additional of front and rear spoilers, similar appearance to the 1978 pace car edition.
The 1981 model was the first Corvette to have a computer. It also had two cooling fans to increase engine power.
For (3) months in mid 1981, Corvettes were produced with two different types of paint in (2) plants. Lacquer was used at the St. Louis plant which closed August 1, and enamel with clear coat was applied at the new Bowling Green plant.
In 1982 fuel injection reappeared in the Corvette after a 17-year hiatus. This was the only model year since 1956 that only (1) engine was offered.
For the final model year of the C3, the 1982 Corvette came available with a "Collectors Edition" package. Each car with this was painted a unique metallic silver-beige paint scheme along with dark shadow areas on the hood and on lower panels. The interior featured silver leather interior trim. This paint made the car recognizable as a 1982 specifically. All cars this year also were equipped with only one transmission, a 4 speed automatic. This was the first year for this option. Every '82 Corvette had the same 5.7L 200hp V8. The other notable standard feature for this year was the rear dome glass which opened for the first time ever, providing a usable trunk.
During the summer of 1982, the first Corvettes at Carlisle, PA was held.
In October 1983, the 750,000th Corvette rolls off the assembly line, it was a white C4 coupe. It was driven by Wayne Vollmer, a 30 year veteran Corvette employee.
A total of (44) 1983 C4 model Corvettes were built, but there were so many quality problems with them it was decided to halt production until they could be corrected. By the time the problems were corrected, it was so late into the model year that the car was brought out as a 1984 model. Production of C4's began in January 1983 and ran for a year and a half.
Only (43) of the (44) 1983 models were destroyed and the only one left that is known to still exist is in the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
Since there was no official 1983 Corvettes, the car did not have a 30th anniversary.
The 1984 Corvette was the first American production car to have a 64% windshield angle. This design along with the new body produced better than ever aerodynamics. Another modern introduction was an all-digital dashboard.
Chevrolet continued its established partnership with Goodyear when new tires were developed exclusively for the C4 Corvette. New tires provided unseen superior handling and drivability.
Another 1st for the Corvette was the creative and clever 4+3 manual transmission. The 4 speed gear box had overdrive in 2nd, 3rd and 4th gear. Computer controlled gears the use of each overdrive gear. Using this technology, the Corvette achieved high enough fuel economy ratings to avoid having to pay the "federal gas-guzzler tax".
In 1986, Corvette offered the "Malcolm Konner Commemorative Edition" with two transmissions. A manual 4-speed and an automatic. Only (20) 4-speed manual transmissions were installed at the factory.
In 1987 you could buy a Corvette without an engine installed by the factory.
Between 1987 and 1991, Reeve Callaway and his company produced 500 examples of twin turbo Corvettes. The start of the partnership that was requested by Chevrolet was an experiment but it was also in conflict with the GM production of the ZR-1 V8's.
The Reeve Callaway Corvettes were the fastest cars that Chevrolet had seen produced. The fastest recorded drive in a twin turbo Corvette was 254 mph or 424 km/h. This test was conducted at the Transportation Research oval track in Ohio.
The 1982 and 1987 Corvettes had something in common, 16 exterior colors were available.
The last year a CB radio was offered as a Corvette option was 1985.
In 1985, the Corvette entered competition with the Sports car Club of America (SCCA) with almost stock showroom-condition cars. They had upgraded tires, brakes, wheel bearings and exhaust. The Corvette competed against the Porsche 944 and the Nissan 300 ZX turbo.
On May 26th of 1986, the Corvette was the pace car at the Indy 500 race, for the 2nd time. This brought the C4 convertible into the public eye. Customers could now buy a convertible for the first time since 1975.
In 1988 a 35th anniversary edition Corvette package was available for coupes only. This made up for the absent 30th anniversary Corvette in 1983. The 35th edition featured a two tone exterior of white with tinted black roof, white leather seats, white steering wheel, white rims, special interior and exterior accents, a console-mounted anniversary plaque, special emblems and other special features. Sales totaled 2,050 cars.
In 1988, Corvette started using a unidirectional 17" wheel as an option with RP0 Z51 and Z52. New six slot 16x8.5 were standard with P255/50ZR16 Tires.
During 1988 and 1989, the Corvette Challenge was created and run. It was an event sponsored by the SCCA, where 15-20 identical stock Corvettes competed in 1 hour races, head to head. This series contributed to the on-going developments for better brakes and suspension for Corvettes.
By 1989, Chevrolet envisioned a high performance "super car" engine called the LT5. This engine would be designed by Lotus in England but built by Mercury marine in Oklahoma.
In 1986, (20) Corvettes were sent to Lotus to be converted into LT5 powered prototypes for the trial ZR-1 project. One of main differences was the modern 32 valve DOHC (double over head cam).
In March of 1989, the ZR-1 Corvette and LT5 engine was introduced to the international press at the Geneva auto show. Up to 80 concept ZR-1 cars were completed, but none were sold to the public. Officially, the ZR-1 was made from 1990-1995.
In 1989, the 6 speed manual transmission became standard equipment for every year after.
On July 2nd 1992, the 1,000,000th Corvette rolled off the assembly line. It was white, with red leather, just like the 1st Corvette made. Zora Arkus-Duntov was present. This milestone car was placed inside the National Corvette across the street from the plant.
On February 2 1993, General Motors finally registered the name "Stingray" as a legal trademark. This happened thirty years after the name first appeared on Corvettes.
In 1993, a 1994 ZR-1 production Corvette set a Canadian land speed record in Blainville, Quebec. A one-way speed was recorded at 181 mph (292 km/h) and a two way average speed was recorded at 178 mph (287 km/h).
All 1993 Corvettes were considered 40th anniversary cars. The designated color for this milestone was Ruby red. It was available as a coupe or convertible.
In 1996, the LT4 330hp engine was an option, along with the standard LT1 300hp engine. Rumors were that the next generation LS1 V8 was coming the year after. 1996 was only year for the LT4.
The LT4 exhaust system in 1996 has a distinguishing feature from the LT1 system. It has a balance tube incorporated into it!
In 1996 Grand Sports, there is a small area behind the hatch roof and in front of the panel that attaches to the rear window that is taped, not painted. It is 1" long and the tape is about 18" wide. This change was early in production. The purpose is to eliminate a problem area in the paint booth during manufacturing.
In 1996 Grand Sports, the stripe is not the same width all the way back. It gets wider as it goes up the hood, and the top is narrower, and then it gets somewhat wider in the back end.
On April 21st 1996, the father of the Corvette Zora Arkus-Duntov passed away. His involvement with the Corvette was absolutely critical for the advancements in engineering, performance, and drivability. Zora’s well publicized goals for the Corvette were to duplicate superior race car chassis designs and to create a futuristic mid-engine V8 design. The latter surfaced only in prototype CERVI and CERVII.
In 1997, a new Generation III all-aluminum LS1 V8 was introduced for the C5, making 345hp.
The first 200 production C5 Corvettes were painted Red, not the traditional color for the first production run.
The 1997 C5 was the first Corvette designed from the ground up, as completely new. It did not borrow any major parts from other cars. One of the few off the shelf parts used was the exterior door handles, same ones used on the Oldsmobile Aurora that year.
The first use of a transaxle(rear mounted transmission) in a production Corvette occurred in the 1997. Three major benefits were better weight balance, better handling and increased interior space. However, the first plans for one were in the Q-Corvette in 1958, planned for the 1960 model. Transaxles showed up in Corvette prototypes in the mid '60s in running models, but never in production models.
The first 4 speed in a Corvette was built by Borg Warner in 1957. The first transaxle in a production Corvette was also built by Borg Warner, forty years later in 1997. Both were introduced late in the model year.
Borg Warner has produced a transmission for each generation of Corvette: C1 - 1957 to 1962, C2 - 1963, C3 - 1980 to 1981, C4 - 1984 to 1988, and C5 - 1997 to 1998.
The 1997 Corvette is the first Corvette to have windshield wipers that sweep in the same direction instead of opposing directions.
On November 4, 1997 - The 9752nd '98 Corvette rolled down the assembly matching the total 1997 Model production run.
All 1997 C5's were coupes, and the convertible model was created for the 1998 model year.
The last Fairway Green C5, a 1998 Model came down the assembly line November 10, 1997. The color was discontinued.
In 1997, it took 55 hours to build the new C5 Corvette, down from 70 hours for the previous C4 model.
In 1999, General Motors entered manufacturer-supported racing again, after an absence of 42 years. With the development and success of the 7.0L (427 ci) engine found in the Z06 model, Corvettes started racing at places like Daytona(24h endurance race), Sebring, road Atlanta, and finally at Lemans in France. The lead driver was Canada's Ron Fellows from Toronto. The C5-R was now racing against and beating Dodge Vipers, Ferraris and Saleen Mustangs.
In early 2001, Dale Earnhardt and his son raced on the same team during the 24 hours of Daytona. His yellow C5-R Corvette race car featured the number 3, just like his NASCAR ride. This was the last race Dale Sr. would ever finish. He died in the Daytona 500 a month later.
In 2001, the 20th anniversary of Corvette production at the Bowling Green, KY plant was celebrated.
In 2003, the Corvette reached its golden 50th anniversary. Up to 10,000 units were planned; all came with metallic burgundy paint and shale colored leather seats covered with 50th anniversary badges. Champagne colored rims were also part of the $5000 package. Of the 35,469 cars made for 2003, the 50th anniversary package was designated for 4085 coupes and 7547 convertibles.
During 2004, there were 34,064 C5 Corvettes were produced. In a tribute to the racing success at the 24 hours of Lemans, a special Commemorative Edition was created. There were 6899 Corvettes ordered like this featuring Lemans Blue paint along with special hood and rear deck badges. The Z06 cars ordered like this also featured carbon-fiber hoods and front fenders, 2 tone red and silver race stripes, like the track prepared race cars. These became sought after and collectible C5 Corvettes.
The 2005 C6 made history by having smooth, fixed exposed headlights. From 1963-2004, the headlights were pop-up design. The new appearance looks similar to other sports cars that compete at Lemans in France. The Corvette design team also claims superior lighting abilities.
The C6 Corvette features a push button ignition, there is no traditional switch.
The auto-unlock in the key fob is carried over from the C5. The door locks can be programmed to unlock as the driver approaches the car with a fob in hand.
The LS2 6.0L V8 in the 2005 C6 marks the first time since 1969 that there is no 5.7L V8. In 2008, the LS2 grew to 6.2L.
Many Corvette experts admired Chevrolet’s efforts of finally producing an upscale quality interior that matched the exterior styling, and many import competitors.
The taillights on the C6 were designed as nearly round circles, very similar to the 1984 C4 and the earlier Corvettes of the 1970's.
Jet fighter-inspired heads-up display became standard equipment on the C6. At night, the driver could see the digital speed, engine rpm's and G-force readings.
The C6 became the second consecutive generation to have a rear-mounted transaxle, giving the car a near 50/50 weight distribution. To reduce weight further, the C6 Z06 is built with carbon-fiber hoods, fender and floor panels.
The 2006 Corvette Z06 has a 505hp V8. It was the most powerful engine that General Motors has ever made up to that time, in mass production. It is a car that is capable of reaching a speed of 300 km/h.
The new Z06 is powered by a 427 small block, an engine that is assembled by hand and shares components of the factory-backed C6-R race car, which competes and wins at the 24 hours of Daytona race and the Lemans 24 hours race in France. This technology started with the C5-R.
For the 2009 model year, the name "ZR1" will be reused for the first time since 1995. The C4 car with this name was spelled “ZR-1”. The performance model is also known as the "King of the Hill". It will feature the new LS9 supercharged 6.2L V8. It will be the first time in fifty-six years that a production Corvette engine will not be naturally aspirated. The performance numbers will exceed those of the C6 Z06 which had a horsepower record for General Motors.
The LS9 will produce 620hp and 595 ft lbs of torque. The ZR1 will be noticeably different due to special fender vents, hood, bumpers, badges, engine cover, seats, wheels and roof. The engine will be hand assembled and all transmission components including the rear axle will be strengthened for race track condition abuse. Without any doubt, the new ZR1 will be the fastest, best handling, and most powerful production car the General Motors has ever made in its history.